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Prenatal Exposure to Heat Waves and Child Health in Sub-saharan Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Bratti, Massimiliano

    (University of Milan)

  • Frimpong, Prince Boakye

    (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology)

  • Russo, Simone

    (Central Bank of Malta)

Abstract

This paper investigates the consequences of prenatal exposure to hot temperatures on child health in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) using a novel indicator of heat waves (the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily). Leveraging several geo-referenced waves of the Demographic and Health Surveys merged with gridded data on the presence of heat waves and their magnitude since the 1980s, we investigate the effects of inutero exposure to heat waves on several birth and early childhood health outcomes (birth weight, low birth weight, weight-for-age and height-for-age z-scores, undernutrition, severe undernutrition, stunting, severe stunting, anemia). Our analysis demonstrates very robust negative effects on long-term child health, namely the probability that the child is severely stunted. Effects are larger for in-utero shocks experienced in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and for heat waves of higher intensity. We further show that, at least in the SSA context, adaptation mechanisms such as access to improved water and sanitation, electricity, and improved housing do not appear to significantly attenuate the negative effects of heat waves.

Suggested Citation

  • Bratti, Massimiliano & Frimpong, Prince Boakye & Russo, Simone, 2021. "Prenatal Exposure to Heat Waves and Child Health in Sub-saharan Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 14424, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14424
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    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp14424.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sub-Saharan Africa; child health; heat waves;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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